Do you find yourself rolling around in bed, unable to fall asleep despite your greatest efforts? Or maybe you’re prone to waking up in the middle of the night and disrupting your sleep? Getting enough sleep is crucial for retaining information, maintaining a hormonal balance, and being in a good mood, but it’s a task that’s easier said than done. To help you improve your overall sleep, we created a guide that contains tips on how to get 8 hours of sleep every night.
From creating a nighttime routine to taking night showers, we’re certain that you will find some of these tips useful in your quest of getting enough sleep. Our guide also contains a FAQ section where we answer some questions relating to how many hours of sleep you should get per night, so let’s get started.
Create and Stick to a Sleeping Schedule
We all know by now that it’s ideal to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night, but when you go to bed and wake up matters equally as much as how many hours you sleep. Creating and sticking to a sleeping schedule is one of the best ways to ensure that you get eight hours of sleep every night. This entails going to bed and getting up at the same time, day in and day out.
Having a lie in during the weekends is always a good idea, but make sure there isn’t a big discrepancy in your sleeping schedule during the weeknights and weekends. Otherwise, your effort during the weekdays might be erased.
Avoid Caffeine at the Later Part of the Day
If you’ve ever researched anything related to the topic of how to improve your sleeping pattern, then you won’t be surprised to hear that our first tip pertains to caffeine intake late in the day. If you’re someone who has a habit of drinking one or two caffeinated beverages in the afternoon, they might be to blame for your restlessness at night and your inability to fall asleep.
You don’t have to drink coffee right before going to bed for you to have trouble falling asleep – the caffeine in your favourite beverage can last up to nine hours in your system. Caffeine stimulates our nervous system and increases our overall energy, so it’s no wonder why it can be the culprit of tossing and turning in bed.
If you really love treating yourself to a cup or two of tea or coffee in the late afternoon, it’s best to opt for the decaffeinated versions.
Avoid Consuming Large Quantities of Alcohol Before Bed
Similarly to caffeine, alcohol can also cause a disruption of your sleeping patterns. You might have noticed that a glass or two of wine makes you sleepy, but that effect doesn’t last for very long. Studies have shown that drinking large quantities of alcohol can disturb your sleep, cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, and even make you more prone to snoring, which not only disturbs your sleep but it can also affect your partner’s.
In addition to wreaking havoc in your sleeping schedule, alcohol can also inhibit the production of melatonin – a hormone that signals to your brain when it’s time to sleep. To avoid this, you can stick to non-alcoholic beverages or limit your intake to one glass of alcohol of your choice.
Long Naps Might Be to Blame
We all love naps. They serve as a wonderful mid-day break from our hectic schedule, can decrease stress levels, and give our mind a break. But what happens when we nap for longer than we intended?
Taking naps that last for longer than one hour in the middle of the day might be to blame for your chaotic sleeping schedule. They prolong your bedtime and can cause you to go to bed much later than your schedule calls for. To avoid these side-effects of long naps, stick to 20 to 30 minute power naps during the day and avoid napping in the late afternoon.
Work Out Regularly
If you’re someone who regularly works out, you might have noticed an improvement in your quality of sleep. How exactly does working out affect sleep?
According to John Hopkins Medicine, aerobic exercise increases the amount of slow wave sleep you get every night, or, in other words, the restorative and deep phase of sleeping. Regular exercise can also help manage anxiety and stress levels, and we all know how anxious thoughts can keep us up late at night.
To enjoy these benefits of sleep, you don’t have to be a pro athlete – working out for as little as 30 minutes a couple times a week is more than enough.
Work Out Earlier in the Day
We already covered why having a consistent workout schedule can significantly improve your sleeping patterns. However, when you work out in the evening close to your bedtime, you might be sabotaging your sleep. Working out releases energy and it can keep you up for longer than you intended. There are several ways to avoid this scenario, such as sticking to low-intensity workouts like yoga in the evening and planning your more strenuous workouts in the morning.
Create a Relaxing Night Routine
A great way to let your body transition seamlessly to sleep is to have a predictable and relaxing night routine. By doing so, you will prepare your body for sleep and calm your mind down, which can help you fall asleep faster.
How elaborate your routine is completely up to you, as long as you make sure to include some relaxing activities like stretching, journaling, or reading before dozing off to sleep.
Snack Lightly in the Evenings
One sure way to disturb your sleep is to have large and heavy meals late in the evening. Needless to say, it takes a lot for your body to digest these types of meals which impacts your quality of sleep. Instead of heavy meals, opt for light snacks after dinner if you’re still hungry.
The timing of your meal matters as well. Experts recommend waiting at least two hours after dinner to go to bed. If you fall asleep immediately after eating, you risk disturbing your digestion which, in turn, can have a negative effect on your overall sleep quality.
Turn Down the Lights
Exposure to light stimulates our body and signals to our brains that it’s not time for sleep just yet. This includes anything from natural daylight to the blue light that comes from our screens. Apart from reducing your exposure to light on your electronic devices, you should also turn down the lights in your room before going to bed, or at least dim them as much as possible. This will send a signal to your brain that it’s time to produce melatonin and that it should slowly prepare for sleep.
How Pets Can Disturb Our Sleep
If you have a pet, chances are you allow them in your bed every night. After all, who doesn’t want to cuddle with their furry friend before dozing off? While sleeping beside your pet can increase your happiness levels, if they’re prone to moving a lot during the night, it can also cause you to wake up needlessly in the middle of the night. Waking up multiple times a night decreases your overall REM sleep, so you’ll be more prone to waking up groggy and without energy.
If you really love being next to your pet while sleeping, you can always bring their bed next to yours so that their movement doesn’t cause any disturbance.
There are several supplements on the market that can help you fall asleep faster and improve your overall sleep quality. The most popular among these is melatonin. Doctors often prescribe melatonin to patients who have a history of insomnia, or simply find themselves tossing and turning at night, unable to fall asleep. The typical dosage of melatonin is 2 mg before bed.
Other popular supplements for sleeping include magnesium and L-theanine. We strongly recommend consulting with a doctor or specialist if you’re interested in trying out any of these supplements.
Be Mindful of Any Noise in Your Bedroom
We all know how distracting loud noises can be while we’re trying to fall asleep. Apart from your TV or computer, noises can come from a variety of different sources, such as traffic, fans, or household members. If shutting down the noise isn’t an option, you can try using earplugs at night.
Be Wary of Your Room Temperature
Your room temperature has a direct effect on your quality of sleep. Sleeping in a room that’s stuffy or hot can disrupt your sleep, especially if you’re prone to night sweats or you’re a hot sleeper.
All of us have different preferences in terms of what temperature we feel comfortable sleeping in, but a general rule of thumb to follow is that it should be around 20 degrees Celsius. Test out different bedroom temperatures and opt for the one that allows you to sleep soundly without waking up at night.
Consider Night Showers
Many people prefer showering in the morning because it gives them a fresh start for the day, and it can be extremely energising. But did you know that having a relaxing shower or bath at night can make you fall asleep faster?
When we take a shower or a bath, it lowers our body temperature and sends a signal to our brain that it’s time to start getting ready for bed. Baths can be equally relaxing, especially if you add essential oil to your water.
Keep in mind that in order for your night showers to work, you need to use warm water. In fact, taking cold showers at night is known to increase cortisol levels which can be incredibly damaging for your sleep quality. If you can’t part with your morning shower, soaking your feet at night will suffice to notice these benefits.
Put Your Phone Down at Least one Hour Before Going to Sleep
We live in an age when it’s hard to put our phones down for a substantial amount of time. Most of us use the evenings to catch up on our social media after a long day’s work. However, using your phone right before going to bed not only delays your bedtime due to blue light transmission, but it can also increase your anxiety levels if you engage with news on social media. It’s best to put your phone in another room or put it in aeroplane mode one hour before going to bed.
Watch Your Water Consumption
Water is an innocuous beverage compared to alcohol and coffee, but it can also negatively impact your sleep pattern. If you drink too much water before going to bed, you’re more likely to wake up in the middle of the night to use the toilet. And let’s face it – there’s nothing more annoying than having to use the toilet in the middle of the night when you’re tucked cosily in bed. To avoid this, stop drinking water at least two hours before going to bed and make sure you use the toilet before you lie down.
When to See a Doctor
If you find yourself unable to fall asleep for a month or longer, or if you notice that your quality of sleep has decreased and you’re more prone to waking up in the middle of the night, it might be a sign that you should see a doctor or a specialist. While sometimes these symptoms can be innocuous, that’s not always the case – the above-mentioned symptoms can also be indicative of health conditions such as asthma. Visiting a doctor is the safest and quickest way to ensure that your sleeping patterns go back to normal.
Are 8 Hours of Sleep a Night Enough?
Yes, seven to eight hours of sleep per night is optimal for adults. Keep in mind that some individuals require more sleep than the average adult, like pro athletes for instance.
How Much Sleep Do I Need by Age?
Babies and toddlers need as much as 12 to 17 hours of sleep per night. Kids require anywhere from nine to twelve hours of sleep, while teens need eight to nine hours of sleep for normal functioning. Adults need seven to eight hours of sleep, but some individuals can get away with getting six hours of sleep.
How Much Sleep Is Too Much Sleep?
The answer to this depends on your age. Sleeping for twelve hours per night is too much for an average adult, however, it’s not enough for newborns. For a healthy adult, sleeping more than nine hours per night is considered too much.
We all know that we should sleep at least seven hours a night, yet some of us find it harder to achieve that than others. Not getting enough sleep can have many negative effects on your health such as weight gain, impaired cognitive performance, and increased stress levels.
Some of our tips on how to get 8 hours of sleep every night include creating and sticking to a sleeping schedule, avoiding caffeinated drinks and alcohol before going to sleep, staying away from technology when it’s bedtime, and creating an ideal sleeping environment. You don’t have to implement all of these to see results – start from two or three and work your way up. Keep in mind that if you find it hard to fall asleep for a prolonged period of time, it might be a sign to visit your doctor.